If you're reading this then you're either a new reader (hopefully) or one of my old readers from my old account, which I appreciate you being so patient if you are the latter. If you have read the first six of these chapters, you don't have to reread them unless you absolutely must. I did change 1-4, but it was only slight details and whatnot. Nothing you must know to understand the story. But thanks for reading my story, and please review!

"Dad, I really could've driven myself." I mumbled as we pulled in front of my brand new school. Hoards of students, boys and girls alike, were crowded outside the school. None of which really cast my dad or me a second glance, but the fact that my dad was dropping me off at school was mortifying all on its own.

"I know, honey. I just wanted to make sure we could both find the school before just letting you go. You can drive yourself tomorrow." he replied with a ghost of a smile falling on his face. Knowing the hidden meaning behind his words, I stared at him painfully. Over the past couple of months, he had really aged. Where he used to have smile wrinkles around his eyes and lips were now just aged wrinkles. His once dark brown hair was now coated in random sprinkles of grey. His physical appearance made it obvious that he had been through a lot since my mother's death.

I nodded picking up my bag. "How am I supposed to get home?" I asked. "You know, since you're working until five…" It was times like these where my attitude won over anything, including the grief.

"Simon's parents said that he could take you home. He only lives a house away."

"Okay, Dad." I sighed before opening the door.

"Hodge should be at the house when you get there."

"How many times do I need to tell you that I don't need a babysitter?" I complained. I resisted the urge to throw my backpack down and act like a baby, though.

"He's not a babysitter. He's like our butler. Since we need someone to cook and clean for us, he's there…" he replied with a hint of sadness mixing into his tone. "Because neither one of us is good at cooking or cleaning." He regained his composure.

"I love you, Dad. See you tonight." I whispered before kissing him on the cheek. There was no use in making him think of Mom.

"I love you too. And Clary?"

"Hm?" I had the door completely open now with one foot out.

"Be careful." Anyone just listening in would think he was just being a father, hoping that his daughter was going to have a good and safe day at school, but I knew why he said that; it was the same thing he would say every single time we weren't together.

Biting back the tears, I smiled. "I will, Daddy. You too." I stepped out of his truck and watched him pull away. This would be how I start out my first day at my new school.

"Clary?" A deep voice questioned behind me. I spun around to see a boy with dark brown hair that hung above his eyes and glasses that perched slightly crooked on his nose.

"Uh, hi?" I was trying to recall whether I had met him before today or not.

"It's Simon… Simon Lewis?" he said cautiously scrunching his nose up.

"Simon!" Jumping up to hug him, I yelped. "You look so different!" Simon was my best friend when I was growing up. His parents went to high school and college with my parents, so we grew up with each other in New York until he moved to Florida when were ten. Dad decided that we needed to move from New York after Mom passed away because continuing to live there was too much for him. Therefore, he decided to follow Simon's parents down here for "recovery reasons."

"I would say you look a lot different too, but you seem to be about the same height and everything." he chuckled returning the hug. I happened to be only five feet tall, and I haven't grown any since middle school. "Your hair is a tad bit noticeable, too." He touched one of my bright red curls. I was one of the lucky few redheads to be born with actual red hair instead of that weird orange-red color.

"Thanks." I stuck my tongue out at him. "You make me feel wonderful even after all these years."

"Do you know what classes you have?" he asked, ignoring my sarcastic remark.

"Yeah, I do. They faxed all the stuff I needed for today to Dad." I pulled my backpack off my shoulder and began shuffling through all the binders and papers. "Here it is!" I handed the paper to Simon.

"Oh, cool. We have like six classes together. We're even office workers the same block."

"Office workers?"

"We work in the office by collecting the absentees, getting students for checkouts or whatever, and completing tasks for teachers or principals. Whatever needs to be done, we do. But that's on B day which isn't until tomorrow."

"Dang, I forgot that you use block scheduling."

"Yeah, but lets go to first block. Since we have pretty much all the same classes, I can show you around and we can catch up- all at the same time! Want me to carry your bag for you?"

I laughed at his enthusiasm. "Sure." I handed him my bag as he handed back my schedule. "What classes don't we have together?"

"Last block you have pre-calculus, and I have algebra II. I suck at math. And tomorrow during second block, you have art, but I have study hall. To English III we go." He mimicked an overly eager superhero from those children shows on Disney and raised a fist in the air. I could almost picture a red cape flowing dramatically out from behind him.

Dropping his arm, he turned around and motioned for me to follow him into the school. When we got inside, the halls were crammed with students. Shocked, I dragged behind Simon slowly watching all the teenagers interact; I didn't expect the school to have so many students. People pushed past one another to reach other people. Clusters of girls huddled around different lockers applying lip-gloss or gossiping. Multiple groups of guys shoved each other down the hall and threw paper balls and other things at each other.

"Wow. I didn't realize this was such a big school." I breathed out from the shock.

"Well, it's no New York, but it's pretty stuffed." Helping me through the crowds of people, Simon laughed. "That's the office, and the cafeteria is down that way. We're allowed to eat inside or outside since there's such an overhaul of students." He continued pointing different directions and showing me places to go and avoid as we walked to our first class.

We finally stepped into a classroom that was about half full. The students were spread out into little groups. "This is it. We should find good seats before everyone else comes in. This class is really full."

"When is the late bell?" I asked following Simon to the back middle. He sat down in the very last seat and dropped my bag in the seat in front of his.

"Eight. Don't ever be late to this class." he ordered pointing sternly in my face. He pulled out a dark blue binder and a pencil.

"Why? Is the teacher mean? Or does she not like the students being late?" I asked also pulling my stuff out.

"The exact opposite. Everybody loves Miss. Ashley. No, if you're late to this class, there's a huge chance you'll spend it on the floor. You'll see. Just wait." he nodded at the clock. It was less than five minutes until the late bell was supposed to ring.

As if he could tell the future, or, my guess, that this situation occurs everyday before this class, a crowd of students began to file into the classroom, creating a loud buzz of chatter and laughter.

Almost every seat was filled before the bell rang. Then, who I assumed to be Miss. Ashley, walked in carrying multiple books and a cup of coffee. Seeming to be in her mid-fifties, Miss. Ashley carried herself very elegantly. She wore a light grey sweater and black pants.

Then the classroom door opened, and a few more kids spilled in to fill the last of the open seats. I turned around to look at Simon. "How many people are left?" I whispered.

"About five. Here comes like four of them," I turned back around to watch four boys walk in and groan. They shuffled to the back left and sat down grudgingly on the floor.

"Why doesn't the school just give Miss. Ashley more desks?"

"They're cheap. Who needs desks when we have our butts and the floor?" Grinning at me, Simon quipped. "Oh, joy, here comes my favorite student in the world. It's too bad that they don't make him sit on the floor."

"Why don't they?" I asked in confusion.

"He's too good for it. Some little nerdy kid that wants to be in the clan will hop up and offer him a seat."

I turned around to observe the whole ordeal. A tall, lean boy stepped farther into the classroom. Despite his slim build, he obviously had muscles. His wavy hair was golden-blonde. His dark gold eyes scanned the full seats. His face was all angles, and he was probably the exact definition of handsome.

"Who is he?" I asked in a daze.

"The beloved Jace Herondale. He's the school's biggest jock- starting quarterback. No one is as popular as he is except for his cousins Alec and Isabelle Lightwood. He's probably going to sit with them over there." he nodded toward the right of us. "He lives with them because he's an orphan. He lost his parents a few years back. It's some big mystery because they were murdered, and no one could figure out who did it."

"His parents were killed?" I gasped imagining my mom. Every time my thoughts turned to her, all I could remember were the blood curdling screams that had erupted from me when I stepped into the living room of our house and launching myself over to her limp body and cradling her head in my arms. I didn't care if I was covered in blood; all that mattered was that she wasn't there anymore. When the police came, they had to physically remove me from the house. That day would forever be imprinted into my memory. I could remember every single detail of that day from the exact shirt I had worn to the coolness of my mother's skin as I wrapped myself up next to her.

"Yeah, he was in the house when it happened. It was a year after I moved here. His mom hid him in the attic because she knew what was going to happen. It really is sad, but he acts as if nothing ever happened to him. Like he didn't even have parents."

"Wow…" I mumbled watching him walk down the aisle next to my desk. A boy jumped from his seat and gathered his things. Jace slid into the seat smoothly.

"Not to bring up anything extremely touchy, but did they ever find out who killed your mom?" Simon asked quietly drawing my attention back to him.

Jace Herondale's head visibly snapped toward us, and he watched me with careful amber eyes. "Actually, they got a name and everything. They even went to his house, but the man knew they were coming somehow and left way before the police even arrived. They have no idea where he went. They found out that he was using a fake name, so there's absolutely no trace of him now."

"Really? I'm so sorry, Clary." Simon rested his hand awkwardly on my shoulder.

"I don't care… as long as that man stays away from me and my dad." I muttered, closing my eyes. Pure hatred always flashed across my mind whenever I thought of my mother's killer.

"Am I giving you a ride home today?" he asked, thankfully changing the subject.

"Dad said you were. He dropped me off today because he's scared for me to be alone for even one minute. We even have a butler now… I heard you live one house away, though. Something good actually came from this huge, disastrous situation." I tried to keep my thoughts happy. I had been so depressed since that horrid June day. I couldn't even relate summer and happiness anymore. It had been so hard to continue through the days without seeing my mom's face and hearing her laughter echo throughout our whole house. It took such an effort just to smile, but I was trying, trying for dad. He needed someone to help him through it. He was such an awful wreck after it happened. And, sometimes, when he thought I was asleep, I would hear him sobbing endlessly, the pain eating away at any happiness that could've remained.

"Yeah, I know. It'll be just like when we were kids!" he exclaimed. I forced myself to remain in the conversation. Simon was staring at me expectantly.

"I know. I can't wait." I grinned.

"Alright kids, now that everyone has a seat- or the floor," Miss. Ashley paused as some people laughed. "I would like everyone to meet the newest addition to our school: Ms. Clarissa Fray." Drawing everyone's attention, she motioned towards me, and I could feel everyone's eyes on me. I blushed and looked down.

A few people introduced themselves or waved. I had to explain for more than fifteen minutes to everyone that I'd rather be called Clary. Ms. Ashley was obviously giving the kids time to talk to me and ask me questions. Everyone seemed really nice and welcoming, though.

Well, everyone excluding Jace, that is. He glared at me throughout the whole class. Occasionally he would break the stare to whisper something to the boy behind him.

The boy would glance over at me and sneer before whispering back. He had coal black hair and light blue eyes. His skin was pale, and he seemed more of a loner than anything. His slight frame was so dissimilar to Jace's muscled form. It didn't seem right that he was the one person Jace had decided to talk to during the whole class. I wondered why, if Jace was so popular, that Jace was associating himself with the boy.

I kept my eyes down to avoid seeing the two boys' cold eyes. Finally the bell rang dismissing class.

Listening to Simon talk about how bad lunch was, I gathered my things quickly. "What do we have next?" I asked not bothering to pull my schedule out. I was eager to get away from Jace and his friend who enjoyed shooting me death glares.

"Physics." Simon replied as we walked out of the classroom.

Someone stepped in front of me abruptly causing me to collide straight into him. Stunned, I fell back into someone's arms. I tried to stand back up, but the arms kept a firm grip on me.

"Simon, I'm fine. You can let go of me now." I mumbled, embarrassed at the whole situation.

"It's not Simon." A charming voice said as he let me go. The voice was like liquid, smooth and velvety, causing chills to shoot up my spine.

I spun around to face the person who had the lovely voice. "I am so so sorry. This person just walked in front of me, and I had no time to react." I rushed an apology.

"Just watch your step next time, Clarissa." Jace said with a smirk. He was easily a foot taller than me, and it took every bit of courage I had in me not to cower away from him.

"It's Clary."

"Don't care. Just don't cause any more accidents."

"I didn't cause an accident. Sorry that people here don't know basic traffic rules." I snapped. No wonder Simon didn't like the boy.

"Maybe you should learn how to walk." he commented snidely.

"Oh, that's cute. What's your problem?" I asked haughtily, ignoring the stares people were giving us as they passed by.

"You're my problem, shorty." he replied, closing in the space between us.

"What did I do to you?" I whispered, my breath catching at the proximity of this stranger's body. I could smell the breath leaving his lips; cinnamon captivated my thoughts. The scent of lemons and something with a hint of spice took over the only breathable air left.

"You moved here." he growled before shoving by me. I watched his figure disappear in shock. What had just happened?

"Clary, I lost you! Come on. We're gonna be late." Simon appeared, grabbing my hand and pulling me away.

The next year and a half is going to be a tough one, I thought to myself miserably all while Jace's face floated in my mind.